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The Beauty of Seahorses

Updated on August 13, 2013

Seahorses are actually deep sea fish that have heads resembling horses. They have pouches like kangaroos, spines like puffer fish, and tails like monkeys and are covered with armor plates like dinosaurs. They can move one eye at a time.They swim upright like horses with their tail down, although they are poor swimmers. When there is current, the seahorse uses its tail to cling onto vegetation. Seahorses can change colors depending on mood and environment and like chameleons, can blend into their environment.

The oldest seahorse was a two-inch old female found in Slovenia on April 17, 2009. The fossil was dated to be 13-million-years old. A photo of the fossiil can be found on the National Geographic website.

Seahorses eat through their snout, sucking powerfully food such as water fleas, small crustaceans, tiny fish, plankton, and other organism. A two-week old seahorse can consume 3,000 to 4,000 brine shrimp in a day.

Only male seahorses become pregnant. The female seahorses deposit eggs into the males' pouches, fertilizing them internally. The gestational period is between two to four weeks. Between 5 and 1,500 baby seahorses can be born at a time. In tropical areas, mating occurs year round. Although some giant seahorses can grow to a foot, most range between 4 to 7 inches. The dwarf seahorses are about 1 and 1/4 inches. They live to a year, but some can live between 3 to 4 years. There seems to be a debate whether seahorses are monogamous.

A group of seahorses is called a herd.

With proper care, people do raise seahorses as pets. A tank of 30 gallons or more and 20 inches tall that is fully-equipped with a filtration system is recommended. You will need to feed it frozen brine shrimp. Also, you would need to have a pair so that a seahorse will not be lonely.

What Seahorses Represent Around the World

In Greek mythology, the seahorse is connected to Poseidon, who is considered by the Greeks to have created it and rode upon a giant sea horse.

The Celts regard seahorses as a symbol of courage and forbearance of sea.

In Asian folklore, the seahorse is a type of sea dragon and thus is viewed as a good luck charm. The seahorse is symbolic for the following characteristics:

  • Patience
  • Friendliness
  • Protection
  • Inflexibility
  • Perspective
  • Generosity/Sharing
  • High-Perception
  • Persisence
  • Contentment.

In Native American folklore, the seahorse symbolizes confidence and grace.

The Sanskrit word in Hindu mythology for the seahorse is makara In astrology, the makara is translated as the Water Horse, which corresponds to the western astrological sign of Capricorn.

In pop culture, SpongeBob Square Pants has a pet seahorse named “Mystery.”

What Is Happening To Seahorses Today

More than 20 million seahorses are caught from the wild each year for the Tradition Chinese Medicine market. Its alleged medicinal properties include tonification of kidneys, cure for impotency and urinary incontinence, and wheezing, blood circulation, and reduction to sores.

There is an organization called the Project Seahorse that is promoting the conservation of seahorses.

Seahorse Exhibit at Monterey Bay Aquarium

One of Many Species (All photographs are from my personal collection)
One of Many Species (All photographs are from my personal collection)
Seahorses Can Vary In Color.
Seahorses Can Vary In Color.
Coral-Colored Seahorse
Coral-Colored Seahorse
Brown-Colored Seahorse
Brown-Colored Seahorse
Small Seahorses
Small Seahorses
Pregnant Male on the Left
Pregnant Male on the Left

Seahorses Are Symbols of Good Luck.

Have You Ever Seen A Seahorse In Person?

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    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks, owl740. Welcome to Hubpgages! Thanks for visiting. Yes, you are right about the dried seahorses for dietary supplements, etc.

    • owl740 profile image

      owl740 4 years ago

      A beautiful article for beautiful creatures! Seahorses have always been some of my favorite sea-creatures, and I'm always excited whenever I visit an aquarium that has sea horses or sea dragons. But it really disappoints me whenever I find dried up ones in a shop :(

      Wonderful article, I'm voting up!

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks, Alocsin. I saw a dried one at an herbal store before I saw a real one at the aquarium. I agree with you about leaving these animals alone.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I wish they'd leave these animals alone. The photos are especially nice. Voting this Up and Beautiful.

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks Esmeowl12. I found them to so mystical when I saw them. This was a very popular temporary exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We were luck to see so many of them.

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A. Johnson 6 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      Thanks for all the great information on seahorses. I have always loved them.